The chief constables of West Midlands and West Mercia Police Forces have apologised to former chief whip Andrew Mitchell over a row that erupted in the wake of the ‘Plebgate’ scandal – while one even admitted he considered resigning.
But three officers at the centre of the dispute remained defiant despite renewed threat of disciplinary action.
Police Federation representatives Inspector Ken MacKaill, Detective Sergeant Stuart Hinton and Sergeant Chris Jones appeared before MPs yesterday and said they would apologise only for their haste in speaking to the media straight after the meeting in October last year.
This is despite apologies for the saga being made by West Midlands Police Chief Constable Chris Sims, Warwickshire’s Chief Constable Andy Parker and West Mercia Chief Constable David Shaw.
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Mr Shaw also today revealed he had considered standing down over the ‘Plebgate’ affair and said he had sent a ‘profound and unreserved’ personal apology to Mr Mitchell.
He said: “Of course I have thought about my position. This has been the most testing moment in my career, and I have had some pretty testing times out on the streets.
“But I felt there was a more important job to do in getting the public’s confidence back, there is work to do but I think it is work that can be done quickly.”
Mr Mitchell resigned his role as Conservative chief whip last year following an encounter at the Downing Street gates with a police officer who would not open them for his bicycle.
It was claimed he called officers ‘plebs’ – something he has always denied – although he did admit swearing and apologised for it.
The federation representatives then met Mr Mitchell and told the media he had refused to tell them exactly what he said
The three were later accused of giving a misleading account of the 45-minute meeting, which was recorded by the politician.
Det Sgt Hinton told the Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday: “We showed poor judgment in speaking to the media immediately following the meeting with Mr Mitchell.
“I think we are all happy to take the criticism on the chin for that. What we should have done is given ourselves an opportunity to debrief the meeting.”
He added: “We certainly didn’t lie intentionally.”
Mr Mitchell said: “I’m very grateful to the three chief constables for the apology that they have given to me and my family.
“I will be pleased to meet them as they have requested.”
Sorry is hardest word during Plebgate saga - See today's Express & Star